See below for the history of this magazine
About Scorcher Comic
There have been many football comics over the years but where "Scorcher" was different was that it was 100% dedicated to football content. The "Tiger" had started 16 years earlier with Roy of the Rovers but not with exclusive football content.
Before "Comics" they were called "Boys Papers" and according to Adam Riches in his excellent book "Football's Comic Book Heroes" the first exclusively football Boys paper was "The Boys Realm's Football Library" in 1909.
By my definitions "Scorcher" was the first British football comic ever published.
City magazines Ltd launched "Striker" on the same day as "Scorcher" both aimed at the same market.
"Scorcher" Comic was launched by IPC on 10th January 1970. The most famous character right from the launch was "Billy's Boots". Billy Dane went to Bingley Road School where all his friends were crazy about football. Billy was also football crazy but unfortunately he wasn't any good. Most of the other lads would not play footie with him because he couldn't "play football for toffee." However whilst cleaning out his Gran's attic he found a pair of old football boots. The football boots had once belonged to "Dead Shot Keen, the old centre forward for England." Wearing the boots gave Billy the ability to play football like the old star.
John Gillatt originally drew "Billy's Boots". He first job was drawing 'Jet-Ace Logan' for Comet and later Tiger in the late 1950s. In 1989 he took on the daily 'Scorer' comic for The Mirror, along with writer Barrie Tomlinson and fellow artist David Pugh.
After Gillatt left the "Scorcher" Mike Weston drew "Billy's Boots". He had worked in British comics since the 1950s. He was an artist for the Fleetway and IPC agencies. He began his career with several short stories in Buster.
Other Scorcher strips included:
· Royal's Rangers: the story of Caxford Rangers and their manager, Ben Royal.
· Sub.: a comedy story about a perpetual reserve and his efforts to get a game.
· Kangaroo Kid: Redstone Rovers' coach breaks down in the Australian Outback after a summer tour, and they discover a boy with amazing football abilities living wild.
· Bobby of the Blues: Bobby Booth plays for Everpool City, nicknamed "The Blues" because of their colours.
· Paxton's Powerhouse: Vince Paxton, the ruthless soccer dictator who vowed to build a team of world-beaters, using scientific methods.
· Byrd of Paradise Hill: Richard Byrd prefers to take up a teaching post at Paradise Hill Secondary Modern School, rather than the offer of a trial for Hampton Orient reserves.
· Lags Eleven: Willie Smith, known to his friends as "Brilliant Genius", was the greatest super-crook in Britain, having been the master-mind behind numerous bank-raids, jewel-robberies and wage-snatches. Unfortunately for him he'd been caught and was doing a ten-year stretch in Bankhurst Prison, where he decides to start a football team as part of a master plan to escape during the first away match.
Besides the comic strips there were other regular features:
· How I Began: each week the story of how a different top star got started in the game.
· Roll of Honour: a football team picture.
· Floodlight On: photographs and mini-biography of a different star each week.
· Big Match Preview: illustrated preview of a big match for the following weekend.
· Football Club Badges: "Start your collection today". Colour illustrations of club badges.
· Scorcher Team of the Week: a different schoolboy team featured each week has their team photograph published and wins a Scorcher football.
· Goal Post: Pete, "the office junior", answers readers' letters, and each one published wins £1 for the sender.
· Know-All: Know-All, "Soccer's Mister Big-Head", makes 10 statements about football and the reader has to spot where he goes wrong.
· Challenge Your Chum to quiz football: a quiz for readers to move a ball up and down the printed pitch into the goal by answering football questions.
After 77 issues on the 3rd July 1971 Scorcher merged with "Score" (originally "Score and Roar") to become the "Scorcher and Score" and never dropped that full title until finally merging with "Tiger" from 12th October 1974. Score 'n' Roar issue number one appeared on 19th September 1970. Score 'n' Roar's life was short lived only lasting some 35 issues until its amalgamation with Scorcher comic. Score 'n' Roar introduced a number of characters, four of which later successfully transferred into Scorcher including one that also went on to appear in Tiger. The "Tiger and Scorcher and Score" continued for 6 years. Eventually the "Scorcher and Score" was dropped from the title, with "Tiger and Speed" becoming the new name from 1st November 1980. "Tiger" disappeared when it merged with the" Eagle" in 1985.)
(Score re-appeared briefly in 1996) In total, 548 weekly comics were published with Scorcher in the title.On my site I draw the line at number 248 when it merged with the "Tiger".You will see on my site a link for Tiger and Scorcher in 1974 -where I have copies for sale.
171 issues of Scorcher and SCORE from July 3rd 1971 until October 5th 1974.
300 issues of TIGER and Scorcher from October 12th 1974 until August 30th 1980.
(Industrial action prevented publication of 3 issues in December 1978 and a further 5 in May and June 1980)
About Scorcher Comics.